Fosbel: bank sells stake as business booms

Barclays Private Equity (BPE) has sold its investment in Fosbel, the central England-based firm which provides ceramic welding maintenance and repair services to glass furnace and coke oven operators….

Barclays Private Equity (BPE) has sold its investment in Fosbel, the central England-based firm which provides ceramic welding maintenance and repair services to glass furnace and coke oven operators. The investment in Fosbel was sold to US buyout firm American Capital Strategies for GBP 57 million, a four-fold return on BPE“s original investment when it backed the buyout of Fosbel from joint owners Foseco and Glaverbel in 2003. Fosbel has pioneered ceramic welding technology for furnace repairs at extreme temperatures and its turnover grew from GBP 23 million in 2002 to GBP 48 million in the current year, with a consequent rise in profits. Phil Griesbach, director in the Birmingham office of BPE, said that buyers started to express an interest in the company at the start of 2005. “We took the view that the business had grown more rapidly than we were budgeting for and therefore took the opportunity to make a solid return for investors,” said Griesbach. “With nearly 25 years of operating history, Fosbel has aggregated a substantial amount of experience and expertise,” said Tom Gregory, managing director of American Capital. “A provider of value-added refractory maintenance services in the coke, glass and Cetek market, Fosbel provides services for which there will always be a need.”